This is How It Is is a collection of real life experiences. Most of these writers have never been published before. They wrote primarily to explore themselves, to engage with their own capacity to be creative, and to bear witness to their lives and the times in which we live. Putting traumatic experiences down on paper can help a person to put shame, guilt and fear down, and to step out of the circle of enchantment that might have kept them trapped for years.
Writing is sometimes able to turn a painful incident into something more manageable, even beautiful. This is an aspect of the power of artistic practice – that we can take the blurred feeling of what is disturbing us and give it form in the world. The stories inspired by our experiences can reveal what we didn’t know we knew, as they take shape on the page. Self-discovery is linked to self-recovery, but communication does not end there: those who are willing to share their stories can have a valuable impact on us, as readers, by revealing aspects of their humanity.
In addition, the writers may experience healing through having their experiences witnessed. Engaging with this ‘other’ by listening to what happened to them cuts across those things that separate us: sexism, racism, ageism, nationalism and gender stereotypes. Often we discover that we are more alike than we are different. Our beautiful world is in trouble, much of it because we are not paying attention to what is right in front of us. When the facts don’t stir us to reconsider, story can. This anthology is a contribution to the groundswell towards meaningful change. It invites us to become curious and reflective rather than fearful and defensive. It encourages us to climb down from the ladder of hierarchy and competition, and to join the circle of relationship and humanity, through becoming vulnerable enough to share and to listen to our own and each other’s half-hidden stories.
This anthology is the pilot year of what we hope will be an annual edition. This year’s theme, ‘This is how it is’, speaks of truth-telling and the relief of being able to communicate openly and honestly about things that are usually difficult – suicide, extra-marital affairs, mental illness, racism, untimely death.
“A powerful collection of life stories written in a healing space.” – Pregs Govender
“We forget that the most daring thing we can do is to allow ourselves to be seen. To stand before the world and to say this is who I am. This is how it is.” – Bongani Kona, 2016 Caine Prize finalist and co-editor of Migrations
“The writers in this triumphant anthology are both courageous and candid, allowing the reader a glimpse into their lives. There is need for more of this writing in South African literature.” – Sara-Jayne King
“Refreshing, poignant and wide-ranging, this collection surprises with unusual perspectives and gives voice to a broad array of talents.” – Helen Moffett
ABOUT THE LIFE RIGHTING COLLECTIVE
The Life Righting Collective runs courses for anyone who wants to learn to write about their experiences. The approach promotes self-discovery, self-recovery and more effective communication. We raise funds to make courses available to those in need of sponsorship and to provide platforms for these life stories to be published. Sharing experiences with a wide readership can help reduce discrimination and promote mutual understanding. Visit the website: www.liferighting.com